There has been numerous articles and discussion in the therapeutic community about renaming BPD. Here is the text of an interview with Dr. Leland Heller about a new name and about his feelings about the current Borderline Personality Disorder Name (the emphasis in this article is mine):
A POSSIBLE NEW NAME FOR BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER
Many people would like to change the terminology of the “borderline personality disorder” to a new term that more accurately describes the illness. The term “BPD” in and of itself is as if the whole person (and the personality) is flawed, rather than looking at the BPD as a medical problem it actually is.
The term “borderline personality disorder” implies that there is no hope for treatment as many mental health professionals unfortunately still believe. There is thought that this illness borders on schizophrenia, thus the term “borderline.”
What then is borderline personality disorder? These questions have been posed to Dr. Leland Heller, expert in treating borderline personality disorder.
Q. What do you think about the term “borderline personality disorder”?
A. “I think it’s a horrible, insulting label for a real medical illness. The name alone reduces serious research, stigmatizes victims, and implies the person is crazy. It denies the medical nature of the process, and implies simply a personality problem.”
Q. Do you think “borderline personality disorder” is an accurate description?
A. “No I don’t. It implies a character problem. While I’ve encountered many people with a bad character who had the BPD, most borderlines I’ve treated (over 2100) do not have character problems. “Borderline” means patients live “at the border” between psychosis and reality. When borderlines are well treated medically, psychotic experiences are few and far between – and can be treated well. Borderlines don’t live at that border, they simply go into psychosis too easily under stress.”
Q. What is the BPD?
A. “The BPD is a medical problem, likely a form of epilepsy (brain cells firing inappropriately and out of control). The characteristic symptoms include inappropriate moodiness, chronic anger, emptiness, boredom, dysphoria (anxiety, rage, depression and despair) and psychosis. The other criteria are symptoms related to these medical problems.
ALL neurological disorders can have an effect on the personality, such as Parkinson’s disease which isn’t called the ‘shaking personality disorder.’ ”
Q. What does this term “Dyslimbia” mean?
“ ‘Dys’ means malfunction, and limbia meaning from the limbic system.
‘Dyslimbia’ is malfunction of the limbic system. While other neuropsychiatric disorders involve malfunction of the limbic system, the limbic system dysfunction is profound in the BPD. I chose Dyslimbia for my patients to take the stigma away. The BPD needs a new name, one that emphasizes healing not labeling.
I don’t care if it’s renamed ‘Dyslimbia’ or not, but a more honest, humane, and hopeful name needs to be made for this illness. Patients deserve to get medical attention for ‘Dyslimbia’ (or an equivalent name), rather than have doctors and therapists shun them because they are ‘borderlines.’”
I’d like to write more about the struggle for a new name… but one of the things to note is that most researchers in this area have recommended dropping the word “personality” from the name and reclassifying it Axis I. The most common and likely new name is “Emotional Regulation Disorder (ERD).”
UPDATE: Well, the DSM-V has been previewed and it appears that the term “Borderline Type” is being considered.